MANILA (UDPATE 2) - The Philippines’ unemployment rate further eased to 7.7 percent in May from 8.7 percent in April, while underemployment also declined to 12.3 percent from 17.2 percent in April, the state statistics bureau said on Thursday.
The Philippine Statistics Authority said this meant the total number of unemployed individuals 15 years old and over decreased by 408 thousand individuals to 3.73 million from 4.14 million in April.
The PSA said the jobless rate in May was the lowest since March’s 7.1 percent.
The total number of people who had jobs was at 44.72 million in May 2021 or 1.45 million increase in employment from the previous month’s level of 43.27 million, the PSA said.
“The labor force participation rate (LFPR) in May 2021 was placed at 64.6 percent, equivalent to 48.45 million individuals who were either employed or unemployed. This is higher than the LFPR reported in the months of January (60.5 percent), February (63.5 percent), and April (63.2 percent) of 2021.”
May’s underemployment rate was also the lowest reported since January 2021, the agency said.
“In terms of magnitude, about 5.49 million persons were reported underemployed in May 2021. The highest estimate was reported in February 2021 at 7.85 million,” PSA said.
ECONOMIC MANAGERS SAY VACCINE ROLLOUT IS KEY
The economic managers of the Duterte administration, Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Karl Kendrick Chua, Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez, and Budget Secretary Wendel Avisado say the acceleration of the vaccination program should help solidify and accelerate the gains in employment made in May.
“We encourage local government units and establishments to coordinate on setting up vaccination facilities in workplaces. This will accelerate vaccine deployment and give our workers the confidence to go out and earn a living while keeping their families safe,” the economic managers said in a statement.
The daily vaccination rate however is at 236,867 doses per day, based on the latest data from the Philippine Health Department for the week of June 21 to 27. This is the highest vaccination rate of the Philippines yet.
At this rate, it would take until December next year to get 70 million Filipinos--the herd immunity target-- to be vaccinated.
According to the ABS-CBN News Vaccine Tracker, only 2,527,286 Filipinos have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 as of June 27, representing just 4.36 percent of 58 million target for "population protection."
The COVID-19 pandemic could leave a lasting impact on employment in the Philippines as job creation has shifted to less stable and lower quality jobs, an official of the Asian Development Bank said earlier.
Unemployment ballooned to 17.7 percent in April 2020, during the height of the strictest lockdown or Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) in Luzon imposed to curb the spread of COVID-19, government data showed.
The May 2021 data report used a smaller sample size compared to the quarterly reports of the PSA, and only provides a picture of employment on a national level.
The economy contracted a record 9.6 percent in 2020, and continued shrinking by 4.2 percent in the quarter of the year.